Happy New Year! Can you say resolutions overload? All I have seen the past week or so is goals, goals, goals and 90% of them have to do with weight loss. I don’t see a lot about just getting healthy, physically and mentally. I see suggestions for journals, dream boards, online mentoring, Facebook groups, healthy webinars, lose-weight blogs, A- and B-list actors pitching this product or that. It is mind-boggling how the list goes on and on and did I say I was overwhelmed? Well, I’m overwhelmed. And since I’m in the food business, I know about 80% of weight loss that everyone is concentrating on right now happens with the foods you eat or don’t eat. The physical part is absolutely needed, necessary and helpful, but it counts for only about 20% of weight loss.

So with that in mind I want to concentrate on eating healthy and being healthy. Eating fish is a great start to a healthy protein meal.

A couple of our good friends, Tom and Steve, are avid fishermen and often bring us some of their bounty from the shallow waters of Galveston Bay. They definitely go catching, not just fishing… We are mostly rewarded with red drum but often we are the grateful recipients of fresh flounder and speckled trout. I cook the seafood up several different ways and always send them photos of our dinners. Most of the time when I see a great fish dish on a menu in a restaurant it looks and tastes delicious but is drenched with heavy oil, cream, cheese and butter sauces, so to start on the 2020 highway to health with fish, I’m sharing a couple of healthy and delicious fish/seafood recipes. Please “Join our table” as we enjoy grilled and sautéed seafood dishes, cooked the healthy way!

My Popeye Fish recipe is a pan-seared fish with a side of sautéed creamed baby spinach. This dish will easily impress your family and I bet even spinach haters will like it!

Karen’s Popeye Spinach Fish in a Pan (healthier measurements are in parenthesis)

1 1/2 pounds filleted, skinless fish such as red fish, sea bass, halibut, cod or any thick white fish
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon light olive oil)
1 tablespoon salted butter (1 tablespoon vegan or light butter)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (3/4 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced 10 ounces fresh organic baby spinach or regular spinach, rough chopped and large stems removed
2 ounces full-fat cream cheese (low-fat yogurt, strained overnight, measure to make 2-3 tablespoons or use any light cream cheese)
1/3 cup half and half cream (1/4 cup non-dairy or light half and half)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (3 tablespoons grated vegan or low-fat hard cheese)
Sea salt to taste
Lemon pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (no pine nuts to save calories)

On a platter, season the fish on both sides with salt and lemon pepper. Heat a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat; add 1/2 of the olive oil and butter. Add the seasoned fish and cook about 5 minutes on first side and flip fish over and cook other side an additional 5 minutes until cooked through and browned (If using a thin fish, cooking time will be reduced). In a second large skillet, while the fish is cooking, over medium heat melt remaining 1/2 of the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped red pepper and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper; gently stir to wilt the spinach. Add cream cheese, half and half and Parmesan cheese and cover for about 1 minute then remove lid, add red pepper flakes and mix well until cream cheese is melted; stir gently to incorporate into the spinach. Set aside covered and finished fish. Divide spinach into 4 portions and place on plates; top the spinach with pine nuts, add fish and serve.


Greek Fish kabobs can be made with any kind of white fish as long as it isn’t too flaky. I think halibut, cod and swordfish work best. I made this for the first time while living in Corpus Christi. I used amberjack that I caught myself down by Port Aransas while deep-sea fishing!

 

My Greek Fish Kabobs (makes 4 servings, 2 kabobs per person)

1 1/2 cups bottled Greek salad dressing (be sure there is no dairy in the dressing)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano or Greek seasoning
1 1/2 pounds thick white fish cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes
8 kabob sticks (if using wooden or chopsticks, soak sticks in water for 20 minutes prior to using)
4 medium bell peppers, red, yellow or green, washed, seeded and also cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes
2 small red onions, peeled and cut into 4 crescents each
Greek EVOO to brush on the grill (extra virgin olive oil)
Lemon wedges and fresh Greek oregano to garnish

Pour the salad dressing into a large bowl and add the fish cubes. Cover and set in fridge for 1 hour to marinate. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bell peppers and red onions on a cookie sheet and drizzle with EVOO and bake 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Preheat a grill and brush with EVOO. If using a gas grill, set it to medium. If using charcoal, make sure they are prepared and hot. While the grill is heating, make the kabobs. First drain the fish and throw away the fish marinade. Alternately place on each skewer about 5 pieces of fish and 5 pieces of bell pepper and 2 red onion crescents. Place each skewer on the grill, spread them evenly and grill for approximately 8 minutes. Turn each skewer 1/4 turn every 2 minutes, being sure all sides are cooked evenly. Remove from grill. Serve with a Greek salad and pilaf; top the kabobs with a squeeze of fresh lemon and oregano.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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